Captive Audience Display Solutions plc: Cads had its foot on the gas before recession

Celia Larkin was a shareholder in Cads

Celia Larkin was a shareholder in Cads


Incorporated in 2004, Captive Audience Display Solutions plc (Cads), 70 Ballybough Road, Dublin 3, listed on the Plus exchange in 2008. It delivered news, entertainment and advertising “to millions of viewers on petrol stations forecourts throughout Ireland”. LCD screens on petrol pumps were the company’s main offering.

“The concept has proven itself in Ireland where Cads currently commands a confirmed audience of 1.8 million people per month on Topaz/Statoil, Texaco and Esso forecourts.”

The executive chairman was Liam McGrattan, the managing director was Brian McDonnell, and the company secretary was Lisa McDonnell. McGrattan and Brian McDonnell had 5.3 per cent and 5.39 per cent shareholdings respectively, while Nial Ring, who resigned as a director in May 2008, had 3.38 per cent.

According to Ring, the company lost four public contracts “when the recession hit in 2008”. He said Cads had advertisement contracts with the Road Safety Authority, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the National Roads Authority, and one other government agency. He said Bertie Ahern’s former partner, Celia Larkin, was a shareholder in Cads. “She did some work for us opening doors. When you’re selling ads it can be difficult to get in to see people.” (Larkin was also a shareholder in US Oil & Gas).

Larkin said she is 100 per cent sure she never made any introductions to any state body for Cads. “I might have spoken to other people about the company.” She said she never made introductions. She thought the Cads concept was good but the timing was disastrous and she lost on her investment.

In 2008 the company lost €774,734. Proceeds from issuing shares were €577,674. By 2011, turnover was zero. The company shifted focus to the Middle East but nothing came of it. In May 2012 Cads moved to GXG. It is now called Proventus Renewables and is focused on solar projects in Bulgaria. The shares, on the floor in 2013 and early 2014, rose to 7p more recently.